CARLSBAD, Calif. — Auto Point Inc. and announced a partnership to give service customers the ability to schedule an appointment 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from their computers or mobile devices.

"Customers don't want to be bound by dealership hours, and no one likes to have to wait on hold to get someone on the phone," said Jim Roche, Auto Point founder and president. "By adding TimeHighway to our suite of services, we're enabling dealers to offer customers that added convenience."

When a service customer books an appointment using TimeHighway, they're automatically emailed or texted an appointment confirmation and a courtesy reminder. Having more customers book online also cuts down on the amount of phone calls coming into the dealership, giving service advisors and other dealership staff more time to spend with customers face-to-face, said Karen Dillon, TimeHighway president.

"If a customer calls a dealership for an appointment, statistics show a large percentage of calls don't get answered, either because the call gets dropped as it's transferred from place to place, the call goes to voice mail, or the customer hangs up when they're put on hold," Dillon said. "By offering customers the ability to schedule appointments online, this frees them from having to make that phone call, and improves customer satisfaction."

By integrating with the Dealer Management System, Auto Point provides a single and consistent source for all marketing and customer communications, including email, text, video, phone campaigns and direct mail, according to the company. enables dealers to set parameters for appointments, including whether the appointment is eligible for a loaner car and if the customer can wait while the service is being performed. Customers can describe the issue they're having with the vehicle and choose from the dealer's menu of services. Customers whose mileage is approaching certain thresholds also can be "prompted" with a scheduled maintenance menu. The appointment is automatically fed into the DMS — no need for manual inputting or call-backs.

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